Disclaimer: JKR owns. I only play. You do not sue.
Length: 6900 words
Summary: The second time it happened, they blamed it on the rain.
Beta: mereol, imadra_blue, goneril
Note: Originally written for summer_flinging (as far_dareismai; posted here).
Concrit: Always welcome and appreciated.
"Harry! Wake up! Lupin wants to see you!"
Harry opened his eyes and blinked. "Mmprh?"
Ron shook him again, more impatiently. "Lupin needs to talk to you! Come on!"
Harry groped for his glasses on the bedside cabinet and put them on, sitting up. "What time is it?"
"Nap time's over. Get up!"
"Fine, fine, I'm up," grumbled Harry, swinging his legs off the bed. His robes were a right mess, but he supposed he didn't need to look presentable for Lupin.
He followed Ron out of their tiny chamber through a well-lit corridor. The Order of the Phoenix was now headquartered in a secret series of South Wales caves. Voldemort had taken over the Ministry and had access to the entire magic detection framework. This made it impossible to do magic anywhere but underground tunnels and caves, unless one wanted to be surrounded by Death Eaters after casting a spell.
They reached the common room, and Harry froze in the entrance. Narcissa Malfoy sat at the map-strewn table, her white hands folded in her lap.
"There you are," said Lupin as he stepped out from a small alcove that hid a kitchenette. He was holding a tray with cups and a steaming teapot. "Sit down, Harry."
"What's she doing here?" Harry asked, glaring at Narcissa. She narrowed her eyes but said nothing.
"Please, sit down," Lupin said, and set the tray down on top of the maps. He poured tea into one of the cups and made it float towards Narcissa, who accepted it with a slight nod.
Harry took the chair furthest from Narcissa, eyeing her suspiciously.
Lupin took a seat and turned towards the door. "Ron, would you please close the door and see to it that we are not disturbed?"
Ron muttered something indistinct and did as told. Harry guessed he wasn't too happy about not being invited. Hopefully, he'd brought his Extendable Ears.
"No, thanks," Harry said, turning his attention back to Narcissa. "What's going on?"
"Mrs Malfoy, I'll have to ask you to repeat what you've just told me."
Narcissa turned, gave Harry a disdainful look and then turned to Lupin again. "To him?"
Lupin merely nodded.
"Very well," Narcissa said. "My sister and her husband were killed last week. By one of your... organisation."
Harry noticed Lupin smile thinly. Bellatrix Lestrange was dead? Why hadn't anyone told him?
"She'd given her entire life to serve the Dark Lord," Narcissa continued, her voice slightly thinner. "And he didn't even bother to collect her body. I am told that she was buried by your... associates."
Harry glanced at Lupin, frowning. Lupin gave a small shrug and refused to meet Harry's eyes.
"To make a long story short, after learning of this from my son, I was forced to realise that loyalty is no guarantee of the Dark Lord's respect, nor is it a safeguard against death." Narcissa took a deep breath. "Draco is all I have left. I can't bear the thought of losing him."
"What about your husband?" asked Harry without thinking. "He's still alive, isn't he? Unlike my parents, as you kindly mentioned the last time we met."
Narcissa pressed her lips tightly together and took another deep breath. "Lucius is in Azkaban. As you kindly mentioned the last time we met."
They glared at each other. Lupin coughed. "I suggest we keep to the topic at hand, Harry. Whatever past grievances there may exist between you and Mrs Malfoy, I think you might be moved to reconsider them after she's told you everything."
"Fine." Harry crossed his arms and stared at Narcissa.
Something ugly flashed in her blue eyes. "I have come to offer you information about the Dark Lord. More specifically, access to my husband's private records, a number of which should prove profitable in your search for certain items."
Harry blinked. "Your husband's..."
"Lucius likes to be prepared for any eventuality," said Narcissa. "And I will not say more until your Order guarantees my son's safety." She took a sip of her tea and wrinkled her nose, but said nothing more.
Lupin turned to Harry. "Well?"
Harry shrugged. "What do you want me to say? If she wants to bring Malfoy here and hide from Voldemort, she's welcome, I suppose. But how do we know this isn't a double-cross?"
"Once you're in possession of my husband's records, I think you'll find you've got nothing to worry about on that front," said Narcissa coldly. She turned to Lupin. "I thought you were the leader now that Dumbledore's dead."
"He is," said Harry. "But as I'm the one who's got to destroy Voldemort--"
"Do you think you're being brave, throwing his name around like that?" Narcissa burst out.
"It's just a name," said Harry with a shrug. He looked at Lupin. "What do you want from me?"
"I want you to decide, Harry. Accepting Mrs Malfoy's terms might mean a turning point in the war, or it might not."
Harry sighed. Anything would mean a turning point right about now, even if Lucius Malfoy's records held nothing but an itemised list of Voldemort's favourite ice cream flavours. "What exactly are your terms?" he asked Narcissa.
"Safety and exoneration for myself and my son. And the immediate release of my husband--"
"No," said Lupin and Harry together. "Not your husband," Harry added.
A glower darkened Narcissa's pale face and she sat back. "Very well. In that case, I want you to bring my son here. Alone."
Harry raised both eyebrows. "Me?"
"Yes. The Chosen One, or whatever you are."
Lupin set his teacup down. "Mrs Malfoy, Harry is very important--"
"Well, then you'll have to make absolutely certain that he -- and my son -- get back safely and in one piece."
Harry stood in the shadow of Malfoy Manor's east wing, waiting for the side door to open. Malfoy was taking his time. He'd been told not to bring anything nonessential, especially since they couldn't use magic until they reached the caves. Harry hoped Malfoy wasn't planning on asking him to help carry his stuff.
The door banged open and Malfoy strode out, carrying -- surprisingly -- just a rucksack.
"That's not magical, is it?" Harry asked, pointing to the rucksack.
"No," said Malfoy. "And don't talk to me, Potter. I'm only doing this for my mother."
"Right. Because you'd rather be rat food like your aunt."
Malfoy said nothing. This suited Harry just fine: he was meant to bring Malfoy to the caves, not have a conversation with him.
"Where is this secret fireplace, then?" he asked.
Malfoy pointed at the forest that loomed in front of them. "There's a house. We could Apparate."
"No," Harry said. "No magic."
"I'm a Death Eater," Malfoy pointed out. "I'm allowed."
"I'm not," said Harry. "And you can't get there without me."
"Just tell me the way," said Malfoy impatiently. "I don't need a chaperone."
"I don't think so," Harry said. "I'm fulfilling your mother's terms. She said I had to bring you in, and that's what I'm going to do."
"I told Mother to send Weasley. At least he's not as ugly as you are."
Harry snorted. Ugly, was he? "Stop looking at me, then, and lead the way." Ugly, indeed. Malfoy was one to talk.
They set off towards the forest at a brisk pace, which faltered quickly to a dawdling crawl. It was an improbably hot day even for August, and Harry wished he'd worn shorts. Then again, walking through stinging nettles with shorts on and no magic was not exactly a picnic. By the time the two boys reached a small shack that was mostly obscured by trees, Harry's jeans were sticking to his legs and the back of his t-shirt was drenched with sweat.
"In there," Malfoy said.
Harry followed him inside and reached into his pocket for the envelope filled with Untraceable Floo Powder. Thankfully, none of it had spilled; this sort of powder was considered a controlled substance and available only to the very rich and lawless. It rankled with Harry that he was being forced to use it. The laws were supposed to be on his side, not on Voldemort's.
Malfoy stopped in front of the empty fireplace and glanced at Harry. "How are we supposed to light a fire?"
Harry took out a book of matches and crouched down. He emptied the Floo Powder into the hem of his t-shirt and held it up awkwardly with his chin whilst shoving the envelope into the fireplace.
"We have to be quick," he mumbled, striking a match. "This'll burn quickly." He lit the envelope and rose, bunching the hem of his t-shirt in his fist and holding it tightly to his chest. "Here," he said, stretching the t-shirt out a bit so Malfoy could grab some powder. Harry scooped the rest of it -- just enough for a trip -- into his other hand and tossed it into the flames, then stepped in. "Beck Hole!" he said clearly, and barely had time to see that Malfoy was already following.
Harry stumbled out of the fireplace in the Beck Hole shack and stood aside just in time for Malfoy to walk out, looking bewildered.
"Beck Hole? What sort of place is this?" Malfoy asked.
"It's a village," Harry said, already heading for the door. He wasn't sure what time it was, but he was fairly certain they were early. Malfoy had taken less time with packing than Harry thought he would have. "We have to get to a Portkey, and then we've got Thestrals waiting for us." He was careful not to mention Walden Head, where Hagrid had taken the Thestrals. Malfoy could use magic, and Harry still wasn't sure this wasn't all a ploy. He wouldn't put it past Malfoy to run to Voldemort as soon as he knew where Harry was hiding.
"It would have been far easier to simply Apparate," said Malfoy, walking out after Harry.
It was not any cooler in North Yorkshire than it had been in Wiltshire, or at least Harry didn't think so. Of course, Narcissa Malfoy had to have picked the hottest day of the year for this. She'd probably consulted Lupin's weather chart before deciding on it.
"Don't be ridiculous," Harry said to Malfoy. "We'd be tracked. The Order's location is a secret for a reason."
"Well, it's got to be underground," Malfoy said. "Or are you living without magic?" He sounded horrified.
"Just shut up and follow me," Harry snapped. Malfoy had to be very stupid if he thought Harry was just going to tell him where they were going.
"Are you boys from around here?" called a woman's voice. Harry stopped and turned around.
"No," he said, smiling as politely as he could. "We're just--"
"Well, all right. But you wouldn't happen to know the way to the Thomason Foss waterfall, would you?"
Harry peered behind her and saw that there was a whole group with her; tourist types in wide-brimmed hats with cameras about their necks. Falling in with a bunch of Muggles was probably the best disguise he could've asked for.
"Actually, it's where we're headed," he said. It was true, as it happened.
"Oh, wonderful! You don't mind if we follow you, do you?"
Malfoy looked like he was about to say something, but Harry yanked on the back of his jeans and said, "Of course not! The more the merrier."
"What a nice young man," commented a short woman near the back of the group.
"I'll thank you not to touch me, Potter," Malfoy said out of the corner of his mouth as they started to walk.
"Shut up and keep walking," Harry hissed. "We're less likely to stand out this way."
Halfway to their destination, the Muggles decided to take a detour and look at some ancient road. Harry didn't dare risk joining them; he had no idea how long it would take and didn't dare ask. He gave directions to the woman who'd first spoken to him and walked on with Malfoy following behind.
"Fucking hell, it's hot," Malfoy complained as they approached a small wood. "I wish I could Summon some ice cream from one of the shops in that village. Muggles have ice cream, don't they?"
Harry said nothing. His clothes felt like a particularly heavy, uncomfortable second skin. Fucked if he was going to complain about it to Malfoy, though. The prat would probably pretend that his own whingeing had never happened and mock Harry for being a crybaby.
The waterfall was a bit difficult to approach owing to a steep hill ridged with slippery rocks. Harry scrambled up the rocks like a man possessed; the water would feel so good in this heat. He didn't even care that his clothes would get wet -- he could probably wring sweat out of his t-shirt right now, anyway.
"Wait here," he said to Malfoy, and waded into the dark, cool water. Lupin was supposed to use a Displacement Charm to send the Portkey at noon. Harry dove under the waterfall and came out behind it, holding his arms up to avoid hitting his head on a rock. It was a bit cooler in the small cave. A sturdy, smooth rock ledge hung over the water, just like Lupin had said. It was bigger than Harry thought it would be; there was enough room to sit, if he slumped forward. Harry couldn't see a Portkey, though, even after he took off his glasses and wiped them -- to little effect -- on his wet t-shirt.
Harry dove back into the water and resurfaced once he passed the waterfall. Malfoy was standing near the rocks at the other end of the pool, looking miserable.
"It's not here yet," Harry said. "We should--"
Voices floated through the air and Harry remembered what Lupin had told him: it was against some local law to bathe in the pool. "Quick, Malfoy, dive!" he said, trying to keep his voice as low as possible.
"Just fucking dive! I don't have enough time to get out and it's illegal to go in the water! We have to hide!" Harry swam closer, until he could see the tops of Malfoy's shoes.
"Illegal? You mean Muggle law? I'll have you know--"
Harry reached up and yanked Malfoy down with him, hoping that the prat would mind his head and not split it open on one of the rocks. Luckily, Malfoy managed to somehow twist around and brace his fall -- maybe it was his magic; Harry didn't care. Malfoy was in the pool, that was all that mattered. Now they needed to get out of sight. Quickly.
Malfoy came up from under the water, spluttering. "You could've killed me, you idiot, how dare you--"
"Get behind the bloody waterfall and then you can tell me anything you want," Harry said, pulling on Malfoy's shirt as he tried to swim closer to the waterfall, which he could barely see through the drops of water on his glasses.
"Get your filthy hands off me, you maniac! I can swim by myself."
"Swim then," said Harry, and went under again. Once past the swathe of foam where falling water met pool, he climbed up onto the ledge, gave his glasses another futile wipe, and watched as Malfoy's blond head emerged from the pool moments later.
Malfoy shook his wet hair out of his face and looked around, saying nothing. Behind them and to the sides was solid rock, in front of them, a wall of water. The Muggles' voices grew louder -- they'd hidden just in time.
"Move over," Malfoy ordered, and began to hoist himself up on the ledge.
Harry slid to the side with deliberate slowness. He almost didn't move at all, but he didn't want Malfoy to start shouting at him and alert the Muggles, who sounded like they were at the opposite end of the pool already.
Malfoy took off his rucksack, reached into it, and produced a dark, unlabelled bottle. He unscrewed the cap, shook a few drops of a viscous green substance onto his palm, and rubbed his hands together, wincing.
"What're you doing?" Harry asked, slightly alarmed.
"It's a healing paste. You made me cut my hands on the rocks."
Leave it to Malfoy to walk around with healing paste in his pack. Like a girl.
"Exciting," said Harry. "Will you be fixing your make-up next?"
Malfoy gave him a look full of loathing, closed the bottle and stuffed it back into his rucksack. He began to rummage in it, eventually taking out a towel and assorted items of mismatched Muggle clothing. Which couldn't possibly have all fit in that small a space.
"That's a magical bag," Harry said, his tone accusing. "You said it wasn't--"
"Oh, sod off. If you think the Dark Lord keeps track of every magical device in the country, you're seriously over-estimating his resources. The spell to make this feather-light, waterproof, and roomy was cast before I was even born."
Harry rolled his eyes, and leant his head against the rock wall behind him. The Muggles were talking about taking pictures. He thought he heard one woman wonder out loud where "those boys" had gone.
He turned to Malfoy, intending to tell him to keep it down, but the words died in his throat. Malfoy was crouched on the ledge, wringing out his wet trousers. Naked. Malfoy in the nude was probably the first item on the list of things Harry never wanted to see before he died.
"What are you looking at?" muttered Malfoy. "What are you, some kind of poof?" He set his trousers aside and brought the towel up to cover himself.
"I'm not looking," Harry said, turning away to make it true. He caught a glimpse of Malfoy's balls hanging low and heavy, nearly touching the rock ledge, and swallowed. Surely he'd only imagined that uncomfortable squirm in his belly.
Next to him, Malfoy shifted. "You are, aren't you?"
"I'm not looking!" Harry protested, staring at the wall. "Shut up, or they'll hear us."
Malfoy scoffed. "You might not be looking now, but you were before. Who would have thought that the great and mighty Harry Potter is nothing but the Boy Who Liked Dick?"
Harry turned to face him. "Just because I happened to look at you doesn't mean I want... things. From you. Shut up and get dressed already. Wanker."
"Oh, do I make you uncomfortable? Wonderful," Malfoy said, and set aside the towel.
Harry turned away quickly and stared at the corner of the ledge where the Portkey was supposed to appear. "If you aren't dressed by the time the Portkey arrives, I'll just leave you here," he said.
"Of course you will. And then you'll tell my mother you left me here. Yeah, that'll happen."
"Just leave off," Harry muttered.
"And when they find me," Malfoy continued, his tone positively gleeful. "I'll tell them you tried to have your way with me."
"Bugger off! I have a girlfriend, for your information," Harry shot back. Well, he didn't really have a girlfriend, but Ginny had been his girlfriend. And she would be again, once Voldemort was dead. If she waited for him. The thought made Harry's heart lurch unpleasantly. What if Ginny didn't wait? What if she got tired of waiting and started going out with someone else... maybe married someone else...
"I'm sure your girlfriend will be thrilled to hear that you're actually a shirt lifter," Malfoy said.
Harry looked over at him. "The gay jokes are getting a bit old, Malfoy. Have you noticed that they're not upsetting me? That's because you're full of it."
"I'm sure you'd like me to be full of something," Malfoy said with an affected laugh. "I bet you six Galleons your tiny little cock is hard right now."
Harry snorted. "For Merlin's sake, what are you? Twelve?"
"I'm just calling it as I see it," Malfoy drawled, throwing one pale leg over another. "I should have realised it that time you tried to get into the Room of Requirement. You really just wanted to get me alone, didn't you?"
"I think you've had a bit too much sun," Harry said. If Malfoy hoped to provoke him into a fight, it wasn't going to work. First, Harry was ugly, and now, he was gay. What was next on Malfoy's insult calendar? Harry's glasses?
Harry took them off without thinking and tried in vain to get them drier by breathing on the lenses and rubbing them uselessly against his t-shirt. The outside heat was creeping into the crevice behind the fountain, and Harry glanced longingly at the Portkey's spot. He heard a splash next to him and turned to see that Malfoy had gone back in the pool. Well, at least this way Harry didn't have to look at him naked.
Harry shook his head. Bloody Malfoy, stripping like that and then having the cheek to accuse Harry of being the twisted one. There had been rumours about Malfoy and Zabini, hadn't there? Ginny had said something once, by the lake... Harry had been too preoccupied that day to pay much attention, but...
A wicked thought struck him. If Malfoy was so obsessed with gay jokes, maybe he was a poof. Harry could turn the tables, couldn't he? Grinning, he put his glasses aside, took off one of his trainers, poured some water out, and set it down next to himself. He repeated this with the other shoe, snapped the socks off his feet, and began to wring them out.
"What're you doing?" Malfoy sounded alarmed.
"Wringing out my clothes. What does it look like I'm doing?" Harry threw the socks aside and peeled off his t-shirt.
"Well, you could wait until I'm not in the water to do that," Malfoy complained. "That thing was soaked with sweat before. You're getting the water all dirty."
"You'll live," Harry said, and twisted his t-shirt extra hard above the water. Once he couldn't get any more water out of it, he set it aside and began to wriggle out of his jeans, taking care not to fall into the water.
He saw a flash of something light in his peripheral vision -- Malfoy's head, probably, but he couldn't tell without his glasses. "What's the matter?" Harry asked, as he lowered himself back down onto the ledge. Fuck, it was hard and uncomfortable. "Come to take a closer look?"
Malfoy sniffed. "You wish. Poofter."
The jeans were considerably harder to wring out than the other stuff, and Harry nearly dropped them. He tried to shake them out as best he could, but there wasn't enough room. Sighing, he threw the jeans on top of the rest of his clothes -- which were still wet, if not dripping any more -- and wondered if he should actually take off his boxers. This was nice enough. Maybe the pants would just get dry themselves; there was certainly enough heat for that. And Malfoy had grown so quiet that Harry reckoned that his point had been made.
He put his glasses back on and looked for the Portkey. Nothing yet, but surely it would be here any minute.
"I see you are too scared to take the pants off," Malfoy said.
Harry turned and saw that Malfoy was in the water right in front of him, a gloating look on his face.
"Terrified," Harry said, nodding.
"It's because you're hard, just like I said, isn't it?"
Harry smiled at him. "Why don't you come closer and have a look?"
"No need," Malfoy said. "I can see it from here. I was right."
Harry glanced down at himself in a moment of temporary panic. Was it possible to have a hard-on without knowing? No, it wasn't.
"If you think that's hard, you must have a very small dick," he said. "And who's the poofter now? I'm not the one staring at your crotch."
"That's because it's underwater and you can't see it."
"Oh, that's right. Or maybe it's because I've no interest in your crotch."
"Let me guess, you're hard because you were just thinking dirty thoughts about your girlfriend."
Rolling his eyes, Harry stripped off his boxers and threw them aside. He spread his legs a bit. "Now will you shut the fuck up and leave me alone?"
Malfoy swam a bit closer. "It was hard before. I saw it."
"What is wrong with you?" Harry picked his pants up one-handed and squeezed the water out of them, right next to Malfoy's head.
Malfoy moved away, looking alarmed. "That's disgusting."
"So go and swim somewhere else."
Harry suddenly realised that if Malfoy were any closer, his mouth would be level with Harry's cock. The unbidden image of that prissy mouth closing around him made blood rush to Harry's nether regions faster than he'd ever thought possible. Fuck.
"Couldn't hide it for long, could you?" Malfoy's voice was barely above a whisper.
Humiliated and blindingly angry, Harry slipped off the ledge and splashed in next to Malfoy, groping blindly underwater. He found Malfoy's cock -- hard, unsurprisingly -- and gave it a squeeze. Malfoy gasped and tried to move away, but Harry seized him by the shoulders and pulled him closer. "What's this, then?" he hissed. "You like that, don't you? You've wanted me to do that all along, haven't you?"
Malfoy tried to shake his head, but he was evidently too busy thrusting into Harry's fist. Harry's own cock throbbed impatiently. He'd never even thought he could be turned on from just touching another boy like this, but there it was. He tried to press closer to Malfoy, to find any soft surface to rub against. Malfoy let out a half-stifled moan and Harry felt a hand grip his arse, then another close around his cock. Malfoy's hand was steady, his movements quick, and every time he reached the head of Harry's cock, he twisted his grip a little. Harry gasped, and felt Malfoy's other hand tighten on his arse.
In less than a minute, Malfoy buried his face in Harry's shoulder and Harry felt a rapid pulsing against his right hand, and Malfoy's grip around his cock began to slacken. Harry rocked frantically forward and screwed his eyes shut as he came, unable to keep from letting out a hollow grunt.
It was quiet for a few moments, and then Harry swam closer to the ledge, dragging Malfoy with him. He gripped the slippery rock and waited until his breathing returned to normal and his hands stopped shaking. Malfoy was silent, for once, and refused to meet Harry's eyes. They climbed onto the ledge with some difficulty. The first thing Harry saw was the Portkey -- a dusty red, peeling Frisbee. They had to hurry, or there'd be questions, and this time Harry really didn't want to give any answers.
"What the hell was that?" he muttered as he shook out his boxers again.
"It was just... heatstroke," Malfoy said. He was shivering as he put on a dry shirt from his pack.
"Yeah," Harry agreed, watching the shirt slide over Malfoy's chest and stomach. "Heatstroke."
The second time it happened, they blamed it on the rain.
The third time, they blamed it on the Firewhisky.
They blamed it on Hermione when she accidentally locked them in a dusty old underground library. They blamed it on Lupin when he sent them to fetch fresh water. They blamed it on Voldemort at least fifty-two times because if it hadn't been for him, none of this would have been happening.
At the end of the war, they blamed it on the elation of victory.
And a year after that, Harry watched Draco peel off rain-soaked robes and said, "It's always been just us, hasn't it?"
Draco let the robes fall from his hands and faced him. A drop of water was making its way down his bare chest. "What?"
Harry worried his lower lip with his teeth. "Not heatstroke or frostbite or Voldemort. Just you. Me. This." He gestured at Draco's robes on the floor.
Draco's expression turned stormy. "Now see here, Potter, I'm not a poof."
Harry snorted. "Oh, of course. That's why you beg me to do it harder every time. Because you're not a poof."
"I don't have to take this," Draco huffed, and bent down, reaching for his robes. "I'm leaving."
"What if I asked you not to?"
Draco paused. "I would... still go?" He picked up his robes and shook them out, causing stale rain to splash across Harry's glasses.
Harry took his glasses off and wiped the lenses on the duvet cover. After he put them back on, Draco was already walking away. Harry felt empty and stupid -- what had he expected, really? He hadn't exactly planned this conversation, or whatever it was. It had just... happened, and now Draco was leaving, which he hadn't done before. Harry didn't even know if he would ever come back.
"You can't come back, you know," he heard himself say.
Draco stopped just short of the bedroom door. "I'll come back if I want to."
"I won't be alone."
Draco turned halfway and gave Harry a disdainful look. "Oh really? Who would want you?"
Draco flushed. "I don't really. I was doing you a favour."
"I'm sure someone else will be willing to do me the same favour, then," said Harry through gritted teeth. He couldn't tell if Draco was lying to save face or serious. If he was serious, Harry was almost glad to see him go. "Like, say, Oliver Wood." Oliver had been booted off Puddlemere United after a scandalous expose that linked him sexually to a number of male players in the British League.
"That pathetic has-been? You really have no standards, do you?"
"Clearly not. I should have got rid of you after the war ended." Now Harry wasn't sure if he was lying or serious. "Now I find out that you don't even want this. Go on, then. Get out."
Draco lifted his chin. "What if I don't want to?"
Harry tried not to smile. For all his supposed cunning and self-proclaimed tactical brilliance, Draco was very predictable. "You just wanted to leave not a minute ago."
"That was before you...." Draco's eyes narrowed. "You were lying, weren't you? There's no one else."
"There never has been," said Harry. "Just you. That was sort of my point."
"Very funny," said Draco, and walked out, causing the door to bang so loudly that Harry barely heard the crack of Disapparition that followed.
When Harry saw Draco again, it was summer. It wasn't nearly as hot as the summer when they'd gone to Thomason Foss, but that was the first thing Harry remembered when he saw Draco walking out of Florean Fortescue's. They had talked about ice cream that day, hadn't they? Lamented their inability to Summon a container of it from the nearest Muggle shop...
Harry gave him a lazy smirk, hoping it wouldn't look as fake as it felt. "Malfoy."
"Back to surnames, then?" Draco's smirk matched Harry's. It looked genuine.
Shrugging, Harry glanced at the entrance to Flourish & Blott's. What was keeping Oliver? "I suppose," he said to Draco. "It's for the best."
"Yeah," said Draco with a firm nod. "For the best. Were you going for ice cream?"
"No," said Harry. "Ginny's getting married and Oliver's just gone to buy her a wedding present. He always puts things off until the last minute," he said distractedly, trying to see inside the bookshop's window.
"Oh, so you went for him after all, did you?" Draco sounded amused.
Harry glanced at him. "It's only been all over the papers for the past six months."
"I wasn't here," said Draco. "I went, uh, north...west. To Greenland."
"Was it nice?" Harry didn't really care if it was nice. The thought of Draco with some bloke from Greenland was wreaking havoc on his insides. It pissed him off that Draco clearly didn't feel the same way about Harry and Oliver.
"It was cold," said Draco. "Well, here comes Wood now. I'll just be alone. I mean, along." He walked back to Florean Fortescue's. Hadn't he just come out of there a moment ago? Harry watched him until he felt Oliver's hand on his shoulder.
"Was that Draco Malfoy?"
"Yeah," said Harry, frowning. He hadn't told Oliver about Draco and had no plans to do so, either. "Did they have the book you wanted?"
"They did. Malfoy's a strange one, isn't he?"
"Why's that?" Harry tore his gaze away from Fortescue's door and turned to Oliver.
"Aidan Lynch tried to pull him a few weeks ago in Manchester. Malfoy had a right tantrum, going on about how he wasn't a poof."
Harry's frown deepened. "Maybe Lynch shouldn't try to pull men he isn't sure are gay?"
Oliver snorted, slipped an arm round Harry's shoulders, and began steering him away. "How many of your straight friends hang out at gay bars, Harry?"
Two months after Ginny and Dean's wedding, Oliver received an offer of a five-year contract with the Thundelarra Thunderers, whose Keeper had died in a recent match against the Woollongong Warriors. Within a week, Oliver was in Australia, and Harry was single again. They had decided it would be for the best. Five years was a long time.
Harry sat on his bed, knees drawn up to his chest, and stared at the window. Outside, twilight was claiming the city. The sound of cars from a busy street nearby seemed to be lessening, as though the darkness that crept ever closer was muting day's noise to make way for night's quiet. A few stars winked onto the sky above the building opposite.
The last time Harry had sat here like this, watching the stars, had been shortly after the end of the war. Draco had been beside him then. For once, he had not been talking, just absent-mindedly sweeping the pad of his thumb up and down Harry's calf.
Harry shook the thought off, irritated. Draco was history. Reminiscing about his... thing with Draco would do nothing but cause pain; he knew that from repeated experience. Harry needed to move on, but this time he would not just rush into things with someone who only helped him forget temporarily. He would wait until he met someone who made him forget Draco completely. He knew it would happen -- it had to. After all, Draco had made him forget Ginny, hadn't he? Harry hadn't felt even a twinge of regret at Ginny's wedding.
The doorbell's shrill, echoing clang startled him. It was probably Tonks. She seemed to be on a life-long mission to convince Harry to start his Auror training already. This would make it her eighth visit this month.
Sighing, Harry climbed off the bed, picked out a semi-clean shirt from a pile on the floor and hurried downstairs, buttoning up as he went. Tonks would have to excuse his dishevelled state, and she would have to make do with herbal tea; Harry had been out of normal tea for weeks. He pulled the front door open.
"I'm still not ready, Tonks, I told you I needed--" The words died in his throat. Draco stood outside, looking indifferent as always. Harry hated himself for how much he still cared about Draco's reactions to him. "Oh."
Draco gave him an irritated look. "Are you going to stand there and stare or are you going to invite me in?"
Harry frowned. "I didn't know you wanted to come in. Are you sure you're at the right address?"
"This is number twelve, Grimmauld Place, is it not? You are Harry Potter, are you not?"
"I didn't think I'd see you here again."
"If you'd rather I left--"
"No, of course not," said Harry, and promptly berated himself for being so pathetic. He was acting like an overeager puppy. "Come in," he said, somewhat abruptly, and stood aside.
Draco walked straight to the drawing room, and Harry had no choice but to close the door and follow him. He didn't like spending time in the drawing room. It reminded him too much of Sirius, and even though Draco had once insisted they fucked there, that single memory was not enough.
Draco stopped in the middle of the room and turned to face Harry, who leant against the doorframe and shoved his hands in the pockets of his jeans.
"So how's the single life?" Draco asked, not quite sneering.
Harry shrugged. "It just started today. Didn't think it would make the papers until tomorrow."
"The Daily Prophet has an evening edition, you realise."
"I couldn't give two shits about the Daily Prophet. What does my single life have to do with you? Are you here to take the piss? Get in the queue."
This time, Draco sneered. Harry could practically feel the hostility between them. Why would he ever have thought that the two of them could have had anything else?
"I'm not here to take the piss," Draco said. "I have a proposition."
"Right. Do you need time to fetch your dictionary so you can look it up or may I go on?"
Harry clenched his jaw tightly and told himself to stay calm. He'd hear Draco's proposition, tell him no, and never have to see him again. Showing Draco that he cared would serve no purpose. "Go on. If you use any more big words, I'll look them up later."
Draco's sneer morphed into a self-satisfied smirk. "You may or may not remember that today is a four-year anniversary of sorts. I only remember it because I had kept a diary in those days and I'd been going through it earlier."
"What anniversary is that?" Had to have been still during the war...
"A certain incident involving heatstroke," Draco said, still smirking.
Four years? It had been four years? "Oh," Harry said. "Uh, okay. So what?" What was he supposed to say? Happy anniversary?
"So I thought we might commemorate the event," said Draco, his eyes steady on Harry's. "By reliving it."
Harry blinked. "What's the point?" he asked. It was the first thing that came to mind, and Harry knew to trust his instincts. Sometimes.
"Why does there need to be a point? You're single, I'm single, and it's just a fuck. I had nothing better to do tonight, so I thought--"
"Fuck you, Malfoy," Harry said slowly. "Get out." He really ought to have expected this.
Draco laughed. "What's the matter, Potter? Don't tell me you don't want me any more."
"Would you give a fuck if I didn't?" Harry pushed himself off the doorframe and approached Draco. "You wouldn't care if I dropped dead right now -- well, sorry, you might, but only because you'd need to go through the hassle of explaining why Harry Potter died on your watch." Harry stopped inches away from Draco and had to restrain himself from trying to throw him out physically. "I don't need your charity. If I want a fuck, I have my pick of all the poofs in the British Quidditch League." Malfoy's eyes widened and Harry forced himself to laugh. "I think I'll start with Aidan Lynch."
Draco's face turned pink. "I only wanted to do you a favour."
"Take your favour and fuck yourself with it," Harry hissed. His heartbeat was pounding in his ears. He took a deep, steadying breath. "Just go away, Draco. Leave me alone," he said quietly.
Draco suddenly reached forward, grabbed the back of Harry's head, and kissed him. Harry just stood there, dumbfounded. Draco pulled away and pressed his cheek to Harry's, winding his arms round Harry's neck in a full embrace.
"I miss you," he whispered shakily.
Harry pulled him closer and closed his eyes. "I miss you too," he mumbled to Draco's neck.
A part of him was expecting this to be another game, a way for Draco to save face, but Draco didn't push him away, didn't laugh, didn't crow that he'd known Harry still cared, didn't Disapparate with triumph in his eyes. He just made a small sound in his throat and tightened his hold. Harry could feel Draco's heartbeat against his chest, rapid and erratic as a frightened bird's.
"I didn't really go to Greenland," Draco said, sounding sullen.
Harry kissed his neck. "I guessed as much."
"Just didn't want you to think I cared about you and that gorilla."
Harry pulled back and looked into Draco's eyes. "If I'd known you cared, there would have been no 'gorilla', Draco."
"Was he better than me?" Draco's tone was petulant.
"He didn't blame wanting me on the weather, if that's what you mean."
Draco turned pink again. "On second thought, I don't think I want to know."
Harry kissed him quickly. "Good," he said. "I don't want to talk about Oliver, anyway."
"What do you want to talk about?" asked Draco, his hands sliding down Harry's shoulders.
"I don't want to talk," said Harry, seizing Draco's right hand and pressing it against his crotch. Draco immediately started undoing Harry's jeans, but Harry stopped him. "You remember the way to Thomason Foss, don't you?"